Different Paths to Destiny

12 Strategy vs Recklessness

When we arrived in Riverrun we were greeted by Brynden and Edmure. "No Lysa?" I asked Robb quietly.

"I guess she couldn't make it from the Eyrie," he told me. I couldn't say I was particularly unhappy about this; I had never liked Lysa very much. Frankly, I didn't like either of Catelyn's siblings.

"Amina, dear, aren't you looking lovely," Edmure said. He hugged me and I made a face at Robb over Edmure's shoulder.

"Thank you, you're looking older," I said, smiling sweetly. His cocky attitude faltered a bit but he smiled anyways. Before he could say anything else I was being lifted off the ground.

"How is the Queen in the North?" Brynden asked me sitting me down. I sighed and shook my head. "Bad question, yeah?"

"It's been ages since I've seen you!" I said changing the subject.

"I'm surprised you remember me at all. You were nine or ten the last time I saw you."

"Of course I remember you. You're in the only generation of Tullys worth remembering, save Cat of course."

He snorted. "I take it you've gotten to know my nephew's finer traits?"

"If by finer you mean botching the easiest command Robb could have given him and causing us much more trouble than we needed, then yes, we have been acquainted."

"You haven't changed in the slightest." He patted me on the shoulder. "We should follow the others to the river." I nodded and we joined the others on the walk to the river where we would send Hoster's body downstream, as per Tully funeral customs.

I walked ahead to join Catelyn and Robb near the front. We stopped on the pier, Robb and Brynden lowered the Hoster's boat into the river. Edmure got ready to fire his arrow to set the boat aflame. I could tell before he even took his shot that he was going to miss and when the arrow hit the water I sighed quietly. He reached for another arrow and tried again. This one, like the other, hit the water. I pinched my wrist to keep from laughing. "Maybe I should try," I murmured to Robb. I watched as Edmure failed to hit his target for the third time. Brynden pushed Edmure out of the way and grabbed the bow and arrow. Brynden checked the wind and set up his shot, of course his arrow landed exactly where it was supposed to. I squeezed Catelyn's hand comfortingly. "Come on, we should go inside. It's chilly."

She nodded and let me lead her back into the castle. "You should go with Robb, talk to Edmure about battle plans," she said calmly.

"Robb can handle a bit of planning without me. You need someone right now," I told her. We went up to her old room.

"I should have brought you and the other children here to visit years ago," she said.

"It's beautiful here," I said. She sat in the window and I joined her.

"Out of all the children, you were my father's favorite. He thought you were tougher than Robb and smarter than Sansa. Arya was very young and Bran and Rickon weren't born yet, the last time he visited Winterfell. He was pleased Eddard and decided to marry you to Robb because he knew you would be important. He was always right."

"Sansa is smart," I admitted. "Whether or not I'm smarter, I don't know, but she does deserve some credit."

"Both the girls admired you, you know."

"Arya did, I helped teach her how to fight." Cat shook her head still disapproving even after all this time.

"Sansa wanted to be effortless, she isn't like you or Margery. Both of you know how to command a room and you can have everyone doing as you ask in a moment. Sansa never would have admitted that she wanted to be like you, of course, but I knew."

"You never know how much a person means to you until they're gone. I did not realize I would miss them so much."

"Isn't that the truth," she said. She looked out the window at the river.

"I'll let you have your peace," I told her. She smiled sadly as I left. I bumped into Brynden in the hall. "How did the chat with Edmure go?" I asked.

"Oh I got a chance to speak my mind about his mistake, it went well."

"If only he wasn't so careless. Strategy is more important than force, especially with our numbers."

"Something I've learned about Edmure, he'll always be careless it's in his nature."

"I'm going to go find Robb. You should talk to your Catelyn; she could use some family right now."


"I would have given Edmure a harsher punishment," I told Robb when I found him.

"He's Catelyn's brother."

"That does not mean he isn't incompetent. That is not a quality we can afford to have in our armies. Brynden would make a much better Lord of Riverrun."

Robb smiled. "Does anyone still call him Brynden besides you?"

"I'm not one for nicknames." I shook my head. "If it were not for Edmure we would be another step closer to defeating the Lannisters."

"I know."

"And the closer we are to defeating the Lannisters, the closer we are to winning this war."

"I know," he repeated.

"We need more men! If we had the Tyrell army things would be so much better, but last I heard Margery had been swept off to King's Landing to marry Joffrey."

"You don't think I've heard this before, Amina?" Robb asked sounding frustrated. "I listen to this from our scouts, from my bannermen, from my mother. I don't need to hear the same mess from you too," he snapped.

"I'm sorry. It's just that I want this war to be over so much that I forget that I'm not the only person affected by it."

"I'm sorry too; I did not mean to yell at you." He reached for my hand I let him lace his fingers with mine. "I don't want you to feel alone."

"Where there is unity there is always victory."


"There you are, I've been calling you for ages," Daenerys said.

"Sorry, I was dealing with some family issues," I told her.

"We have a meeting with Kraznys to discuss the buying of the Unsullied."

"So you decided then?"

"We're still considering our options," Jorah said. Daenerys gave him a look that said he should stop trying to speak for her.

"Well, we should be going then," I said. Jorah and Ser Barristan fell in behind us.

"How is the war on your front?" My sister asked me.

"It would be better if my uncle wasn't incompetent."

"Uncle?" She asked.

"My foster mother's brother. I refer to most of her family as my own."

She nodded slowly. "Do they know about you?"

"Hoster, Catelyn's father, did. But we just laid him to rest this past morning."

"I'm sorry," she offered her sympathy awkwardly, but I appreciated the effort. "Will they help us when I arrive?"

"I don't know about Cat's brother but her uncle will I'm sure and having him on our side is worth a thousand Edmures. I told Robb about you, he was confused but he wasn't upset."

"Good, then another army we shall have. Our odds look better by the day, sister."

We walked onto a wall bordering the sea. Along the edge men were tied to posts and Daenerys glanced at the men flanking us. "They display criminals here to warn others of their fate."

I was no stranger to punishment. I had seen Ned behead men for deserting the Wall. If a punishment wasn't enforced then it didn't matter, it was the follow through that made it real. Daenerys took Jorah's water and went to the prisoner we were closest to. I reached for her arm and she shook me off lightly. She walked up the stairs to him and offered the prisoner some of the water but he turned his head from her.

"We should leave here. We can find swords for purchase in Pentos," Barristan said.

"The Unsullied are the perfect soldier," I told him. "I've seen many men desert during this war, not my men but the Lannister's. Not that the Lannisters need all their men," I mumbled. "We will never have to worry about deserters with the Unsullied."

"Tell me, Lady Stark." I cringed slightly when Barristan called me that. "Why do your soldiers fight for you?"

"Our men fight for us because they are loyal to the North. They love Robb and they loved Eddard before him."

"The Unsullied love no man," Barristan said.

"They hate no man either, they simply do as they are told," I told him. "Also, I would rather you simply refer to me as Amina."

He nodded. "Certainly, Amina."

"We need the Unsullied. I already have men that will follow me into battle no matter. What we need are men who will do as they are told," I explained to my sister.

"And you disagree, Ser Barristan?" She asked.

"I was there when Rhaegar fought, his men died for him because they loved them, not because someone had trained them to."

"And what happened to him?" I asked. "Oh I remember, he was killed."

We walked into the fortress where Kraznys, his translator and another man were waiting. Daenerys walked ahead of me. "Have you come to a decision?" The translator asked her.

"I would like to buy them all," Daenerys said calmly. I glanced at Ser Barristan as if to say I told you so, but he was focused on my sister.

There was chatter among the men in Valyrian and the translator watched. I didn't speak a word of the language but I could tell from the girl's facial expression whatever the men were saying was not very considerate. Finally she spoke, "There are 8,000 Unsullied in Astapor, is this what you mean by all?" she asked.

"Yes," Daenerys answered.

"And the ones still in training as well," I added taking a step forwards. My sister nodded at me. We waited while the men chattered again.

"Master Greizhen says they cannot sell the untrained."

"We can train them as we go," I told Dany. "We'll need them if we plan on fighting the Lannister armies."

"We will take them all," she said.

The woman translated as the men told us we wouldn't be able to afford all of the soldiers. "He's right. I don't think I could even send enough money from the North, not with the war going on."

"I have Dragons, I'll give you one."

I tried to hide my surprise. I had learned not to questions my sister's actions. While I was in my element making strategic moves on the battlefield against Westerosi, she was in her element here in Essos dealing with these people. She knew what she was doing. She discussed the trade of the dragons with the slave owners and agreed to give them the largest of the three and also asked for the translator as a gift.

"Amina, if you could fetch the girl. I need to speak with my advisors," she said walking out. I waited as the translator came down the stairs to meet me slowly before following my sister and the others outside.

"How long have you been working for him?" I asked her.

"Most of my life, your grace."

"Do you have a name?"

"Missandei," she replied.

"My sister will need your help when I am not around," I told her. She looked curious but kept silent. "You may ask questions if you have them. It is important you are well informed if you are to join us."

She nodded. "Are you gone often?"

"I spend far more time away than I do here. While I may seem solidly here I am also solidly across the Narrow Sea in Westeros at this very moment. I have an army there that I hope will meet my sister's when she arrives."

"I will do what she asks."

"War is a dangerous game, Missandei. If you have a family, she will let you go back to them. If do not wish to be taken to the fronts of a war, she will let you go." Missandei nodded as we met Daenerys, Jorah and Barristan outside.

Daenerys looped her arm through mine and leaned towards me. "Do not worry, my sister. I know what I'm doing."

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